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HAWX 2 360 builds on its strengths. Four player co-op, new land missions and a Clancy plot to confuse the most rapier like of minds, there is plenty to enjoy for all the family.
We enjoyed the first HAWX game with its quick to pick up arcade style rather than complex simulation. My six year old really enjoyed being able to jump in and have a go with Dad. And I enjoyed the more challenging missions.
While the sequel still has the easy controls of the first game, it expands the experience by tasking you with both take off and landing. The first few times I attempted this were not all that successful. But given a little practice I was soon nailing each one.
My wife and son have got into the habit of handing the controls over to me when they need to bring their bird into land - which I was quite happy to oblige with. But given a few goes I know they'd have been able to do themselves as well. They were fine with the rest of HAWX 2 as it perpetuates the direct air combat style of the original.
As well as a slew of navigation aids, you also have to pull off a variety of manual manoeuvres to progress. Missile dodging is our current favourite and it never fails to raise the adrenalin levels as it homes in - accompanied by shrieks of delight from the kids.
Because of the nature of modern flying, between these highs things are more strategic. You will be using the HUD to guide you to your target quite a lot. Provided you get there in one piece there are a range of new tasks to perform.
Scanning buildings and remote-controlling gun turrets adds some satisfying diversity to the more familiar elements of the game. If you've enjoyed Modern Warfare 2 you will be familiar with these missions already - as they are not far removed from its airborne missions.
The Tom Clancy tagline is earned by the game with typical Clancy scenarios and narration. A convoluted story accompanies the action, which I would instinctively skip, but my wife had really got into. In fact, she often sits me down to complete the next mission so she can have another clip of her story.
Although the environment is usually rushing by too fast to notice, there are moments of real beauty in HAWX 2. The landscape, machinery and general window dressing do more than enough to create a genuine theatre of war atmosphere.
Alongside the single player campaign there are a range of online modes. But it's the co-op that really stands out. This time round you can fly with three friends in the four-player co-op levels. With teammates to co-ordinate with, it takes the frantic shooting core of the game and wraps it with a dose of strategy. And there is nothing like flying back from a successful sortie chatting with your friends in the other planes.
HAWX 2 offers an accessible arcade air bourne combat experience that has enough to challenge even experienced gamers.
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